As we discussed in today's Shrapnel, there are rumors that Scott Howson and Scott Arniel could be up against the wall for the team's painful start to the season. If Mike Priest has already made his decision,perhaps they're already lame ducks, but if the team truly has any control of their own destiny left (wasn't it just a few days ago that J.P. McConnell was going into the locker room to tell everyone he still believed in them?), tonight would be a chance to take some control over their uncertain fates.
As for the Ducks, they're coming off an embarrassing loss of their own last night, so don't expect anything less than a pissed off team coming in looking to get back on their feet against what has increasingly become the NHL's favorite punching bag.
With Jonas Hiller having started last night, there's a decent possibility we could be facing Dan Ellis, for the third straight backup that the Jackets will likely be accused of squandering opportunities against.
The bad news: The Ducks' special teams, after having suffered a brief early season drought, are back on track, and likely to put major pressure on units already stretched near the breaking point for Columbus, and Teemu Selanne has repeatedly shredded us in the past. Oh, and since the top line of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan is currently ice cold, they'll probably break open for consecutive hat tricks against us, because that's exactly how our luck has been running.
The good news: Believe it or not, the Ducks are scoring even less than we are (the difference is they've been able to win a 2-1 hockey game...) With home ice and last change, if Scott Arniel is serious about letting Ryan Johansen run with his opportunity (and to be fair, he got almost as much ice time as Rick Nash last night), he should be able to throw him out freely against an Anaheim bottom six that has struggled to keep opponents off the score sheet. (Not to mention facing off against Cam Fowler, the guy many people thought would be drafted in his place, for another little storyline.)
Also, as mentioned in Shrapnel today, Francois Beauchemin was involved in a controversial hit last night, and it's entirely possible that he could be sitting while pending a hearing with Brendan Shanahan, leaving the Ducks without one of their heavy minutes defenders. If that's the case I'd assume that we'll see Sheldon Brookbank activated to fill out the Anaheim blue line.
Columbus Blue Jackets
('11-'12: 1-9-1, 3 Points; 5th division, 15th conference)
('11-'12: 5-4-1, 11 Points; 5th Division, 9th Conference)
|Bobby Ryan||Ryan Getzlaf||Corey Perry|
By The Numbers ('11-'12 Season)
ANA - 2.00 G/G (27th)
CBJ - 2.27 G/G (23rd)
ANA - 2.40 (10th)
CBJ - 3.46 GA/G (28th)
ANA - 14.6% (19th)
CBJ - 9.8% (28th)
ANA - 86.5% (10th)
CBJ - 64.7% (30th)
In the words of Vinny Prospal, "We need to score one more goal than the other guy." It's that dirt simple. All the rumors / threats of major roster turnovers, coaching changes, front office moves, etx will swirl no matter what we say here. Both teams will be tired. Both teams will be frustrated. Both teams think they need a win tonight. One of them will walk away with it.
Regardless of what Monday holds, if the Blue Jackets have any shred of pride left, they need to get up off the mat, go for the throat, and grab two points tonight by any which way they can.